October 24, 2002

front page
more news
ad information
contact information


School board discusses theater, diplomas for vets

At the Oct. 10 Yellow Springs Board of Education meeting, school administrators and board members expressed their appreciation for the YSHS and McKinney School theater arts program and reviewed guidelines for student participation.

“Having been in other places, I can say that the theater arts program here is exceptional,” Superintendent Tony Armocida said. “It blew me away from the start.”

The large number of community members who attend high school plays attests to the program’s quality, several board members said.

“An astonishing cross section of folks come to the plays,” said board member Mary Campbell-Zopf. “It’s a testimony to how much the community values the program.”

Last spring some parents expressed concern about the late hours put in by students active in the plays, said YSHS John Gudgel. Gudgel said that he, Armocida and theater director Marcia Nowik met in the spring to address those concerns. As a result, they created new guidelines for students involved in this fall’s play.

Information about rehearsal schedules, performances and other logistics will be clarified at a mandatory meeting for parents to take place before rehearsals begin, and the rehearsal schedule will be posted at the high school, the guidelines state. No rehearsals will last beyond 10 p.m., and a curfew will also be imposed on the tech crew contingent upon the availability of the Antioch Theater, where the play will take place.

Two adults will be required to be present at each rehearsal, according to the guidelines, and parents will be given the opportunity to serve as chaperones.

Many of these guidelines were already in place last spring, said Nowik and YSHS Theater Arts Association president Valerie Blackwell-Truitt. Especially frustrating, said Blackwell-Truitt, was the group’s unsuccessful efforts to involve parents. Five meetings were held for parents throughout the year, she said, but few parents showed up.

“We did what we could,” she said. “We’ve been making an effort.”

* * *

In other school board business:

• Treasurer Joy Kitzmiller presented the school district’s five-year forecast.

According to the forecast, the district expects real estate tax revenue to increase 5 percent because 2002 is an appraisal year in Greene County. Personal property tax is projected to decrease by $190,000 due to the upcoming closing of Vernay Laboratories’ Dayton Street plants.

The school income tax, which voters approved last year, is generating close to the estimated amount, Kitzmiller said. She said she believes the “small shortfall” in revenue is due to individuals planning to pay their entire tax at the end of the year.

Open enrollment continues to provide a significant revenue source, said Kitzmiller. This year the district expects to receive about $390,000 for open enrollment students, who do not live in the district but attend local public schools.

Regarding expenditures, Kitzmiller said the forecast includes an automatic step increase and a 4.5 percent raise in salaries for 2003 and a 4 percent raise in 2004.

• Recent heavy rainfall from Hurricanes Isadore and Lilli proved problematic for the construction projects at Mills Lawn School, the McKinney School and YSHS, said Armocida. The locker rooms at the high school were especially affected, he said.

“There’s always something in construction that’s a hassle,” he said. “For us it’s been water.”

• The board approved the second readings of policies regarding field and other district-sponsored trips, student assessments, intervention and appropriations and a spending plan. The board tabled policies on tax budget preparation and relations with special interest groups.

By a vote of 3–2, the school board rejected a state-recommended policy to offer high school diplomas to World War II veterans who left high school to enter the service and never finished school. Board president Rich Bullock and members Bill Firestone and Tom Haugsby voted against the measure; Campbell-Zopf and Angela Wright voted for it.

Board members expressed concern about establishing a precedent of offering unearned diplomas and about offering diplomas to WWII veterans but not to conscientious objectors.

• The board approved as substitute teachers, at $70 per day, Noel Speece, Timothy Mullins, Marnie Neuman, Tracy Evans, Dorothy Drake, David Willis and Robert Vaughn.

It also agreed to name Amy Huneck as the freshmen class advisor at a stipend of $259; Pam Conine as a mentor teacher, $400; and Janet Miller as student review board advisor, $259. The board agreed to name Helen Sparks as the after-school tutor coordinator for the 2002–2003 school year, at a stipend of $2,667. She was given a one-year limited contract.

—Diane Chiddister